The Baltimore Ravens would reportedly like to sign Lamar Jackson to a contract extension "sooner than later" but are not worried if negotiations extend into the regular season.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler updated the situation Sunday on SportsCenter:
"Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have had preliminary discussions on a contract extension but are in no rush. Jackson is representing himself here—he's the agent, he's in a bit of control. And so, the Ravens want to do this sooner than later because they know he's going to be in such a high tax bracket that they want to spread that salary cap over the next few years of his rookie contract. But if it bleeds into the season, Baltimore is OK with that too because last year they did cornerback Marlon Humphrey, left tackle Ronnie Stanley—both of those deals happened during the season. So, no urgency, but they want to get this done sooner than later."
Jackson has two years remaining on his rookie contract. He will make a $1.8 million base salary in 2021 and $23 million in 2022. Both figures pale in comparison to the average compensation he'll receive in an extension, which will almost certainly top $40 million annually (including bonuses).
Dak Prescott's four-year, $160 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys could be a starting point in negotiations, with Jackson a near-lock to top that number. Whereas Prescott is a very good starting quarterback coming off a major injury, Jackson already has an MVP on his mantle.
"I'm not going to lie to you; I'm not really focused on that right now," Jackson told reporters of contract negotiations. "I'm focused on getting me a Super Bowl. I'm focused on getting better. I'm focused on working with my teammates right now."
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes could offer a different contractual structure if the two sides prefer a longer-term commitment. Mahomes' $503 million deal was built to help the Chiefs win immediately, with obvious opportunities to restructure the deal factored in.
Jackson's unique style of play may create motivation for Baltimore to have a shorter-term deal, however, so Prescott's structure is far more likely.